Suspended jail term for drug charge

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A man who was caught offering to supply drugs after his phone was seized by police has received a suspended jail sentence when he appeared before Londonderry Crown Court.

Graham Walter Leiper, of Stevenson Park, Tullyally, pleaded guilty to three charges of being concerned in an offer to supply cannabis between May 4 and May 12, 2014.

Judge Philip Babington was told police attention had been drawn to a vehicle on the Strabane Old Road because the occupants were acting suspiciously. Officers followed the vehicle and found it abandoned with two males running away from it and when they went to the home of the last registered owner, Leiper answered the door.

The court heard he was arrested for motoring offences and he attempted to discard his mobile phone by giving it to his mother. The phone had around 60 text messages relating to drug supply, most of which were to one woman, whom the accused admitted would help out.

In interview, Leiper admitted he would supply the woman cannabis when he could and she was his main customer.

Police accepted it was a very small operation and the defendant was not making a lot of money from the supply. The court heard Leiper had been using Cannabis since the age of 15.

Sean Doherty, defending, said his client had not come to the attention of police in the last two years.

Suspending a nine month sentence for three years, Judge Philip Babington said he was prepared to treat the case as out of the ordinary and exceptional.